You See You Should Never Have Told Me That

What Happened to Create a Problem Having Breakfast


I was out of town and decided to go out to breakfast with some friends. The cafe was very crowded with their Saturday breakfast crowd.  There were eight of us, so we needed to have two tables pushed together.

The hostess pointed to a table and said when that party got up, we could have their table and the empty  table next to them.  It looked like the diners were almost done, but it’s hard to know how long they might linger over their coffee

On the other side of the occupied table there was another empty table with enough room to bring that table over to the empty one she was holding for us.  When I asked the waitress if she could do that.  She gave an odd response.  She said, “No, we can’t.  That table has a different server and I’m not sure how we would divide the tips.”


You Need to Know, the Answer Is Always YES with Customers


Frankly that answer bothered me.  Her worry was that she wasn’t sure how the servers could divide the tips….   My first thought was couldn’t they divide them in half?  No, I imagine that would be too easy.

While I appreciated her honest response, it seemed like she was more worried about how tips would be split between employees than in taking care of customers.  I thought to myself, “I probably didn’t need to hear that.”

I don’t run a restaurant.  And maybe this is a smaller problem than I see it.  But common sense dictates two things.  First, the servers should work it out.  Second, good customer service demands that you take care of your customers and move the tables.

Even when you think the answer is NO, it’s always better to say YES.


It’s a Very Simple Point, I Hope That You Get it


You should take this point and make it part of your core beliefs.  There are some things that you or your employees should never say to a customer.  How do they learn what not to say?

It’s all about your training.  You have to ensure that your employees are properly trained.  Your real goal of training isn’t to teach employees about specific things to share or not share with customers.  It’s to teach the common sense that you should never say anything that isn’t customer-friendly.  You have to always think before you speak.


Yes is the Answer, What is Your Question?


Are you familiar with Cameron Mitchell Restaurants?  Cameron’s signature response about their customer service is a classic.  His employees are told that, Yes is the answer. What is the question?”  He sees the word YES as an attitude, not just a response.  He understands that there are times you can’t say yes, so that’s when you have to come up with a creative solution that makes the customer happy.

What you never do is say NO.   You never give your customer an answer that is the opposite of customer-focused.  You have to constantly train yourself and your employees to always be customer-focused and customer-friendly.  Is your business customer focused?



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